The presidency of Donald Trump has been rife with scandal from the moment it started. Even as the nation grapples with the Covid-19 epidemic, it's safe to say that the election is still very much a tossup. Between continued interference from adversaries abroad, allegations that the president colluded with foreign powers to undermine his political opponents, and a highly criticized response to a public health crisis that, as of this writing, has left more than 160,000 Americans dead, 2020 has been a hell of a year.
It's intriguing to note that polls indicate the president's approval rating among his once rock-solid base has been slipping in recent months amid his pandemic response. Though opinions of Trump remain largely split along party lines, it's important to hear from people who say they don't intend to vote for him after going to bat for him the first time.
After Redditor PIG3 asked the online community, "If you voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but won't in 2020, what changed your mind?" people gave rather candid and enlightening responses.
"At the time of the 2016 election..."
I was a Republican by upbringing. I watched no other news but Fox News via my parents until I left for college. Once I gained my independence living across the country for college, I started to develop my own views. I started to get my news from more reputable sources like the AP. I started to realize that many of the views I picked up from watching Fox all the time were very one-sided and often didn't result from an understanding of the full picture, and it definitely took a while but once I started looking at multiple sources, the biased wording common in Fox articles is easy to spot and easy to avoid no matter the source (both right- and left-wing bias, I should add).
At the time of the 2016 election, I was on the fence. Unfortunately I still held on to the last shred of "the Republicans are the good guys, therefore I must vote for them and also the Clintons are power hungry tyrants" that I had left over from my childhood. I regret that vote, but that election night marked the last time for at least the foreseeable future that I vote Republican. I'm currently a registered Democrat though I consider myself a fairly moderate liberal, and I find this position much better suits what I actually believe (not just what I'm told I believe like when I was a kid) and what I find important in how society is governed.
"I feel like I was flippant..."
I feel like I was flippant in 2016 - I'm in a blue state that doesn't split electoral votes so I felt like I could do it and it didn't matter.
Since then, I've just grown as a person. I've gotten married, watched my husband get diagnosed with a disease that would bankrupt us if I didn't have a government job and it changed how I saw people. No one should have to decide to go bankrupt to get treatment they need to survive. I'm now willing to pay a little more so no one has to suffer like we were so fortunate not to. I've also taken multiple diversity and equity trainings since 2016 that have helped me understand concepts like how saying all lives matter dismisses the point that some lives aren't being treated like they matter.
Just personal growth and this sense of not wanting anyone to suffer.
"I never did my own research..."
Grew up in middle of nowhere conservative town. Took what my parents and others said as fact and adopted their political views. I never did my own research on politics. Since then I've met amazing people who've helped me see things from a different perspective. Now I see the issues with what I believed before. Happy to say that I do much more research and don't just go in the voting booth blind. I'm now pretty far from conservative
"I was wrong."
I was disappointed with a few things that he did here and there but I wasn't that aware of the scope of some things so it didn't seem so bad. Then Covid happened. He didn't wear a mask until recently and suddenly many of his supporters became anti maskers. Instead of leading by wearing a mask and encouraging people to wear a mask, he continued to not want anyone to wear a mask at events. Then he started encouraging bad treatment of protesters. I literally went from a lifelong republican to a Democrat within months. It kinda freaks me out that I changed so quickly but I realized that they've been using brute force to do what you think is right despite what's morally right or what the country wants is just plain wrong. I am less worried about my taxes going up a little if it means preventing a child dying from malnutrition. I am less concerned about making sure there's no welfare fraud if it helps people that truly need it.
Btw I was always socially liberal, I just felt like most social issues didn't belong in politics. I've always wanted prison reform, equal rights for everyone but I'm realizing most Republican politicians do not want those things.
I feel like my eyes have been opened and I literally used to think liberals were oblivious to taxes going up. I was wrong.
"I was so excited..."
My political opinions very much lean towards the idea that the government should exist to help, protect, and serve the people, not control them. I felt, and still feel like, that is the opposite of how our government runs. 4 years ago I was a month past 18 and excited to finally have a vote! I can do something affect change! I can help the world be a better place! I was full of cynicism and hatred for the way the world worked, I wanted to do anything to change it. At 18 years old and prepared with a southern public education and the words of my Republican father I was so sure that electing a business man and not a politician would help. I completely bought into the Trump campaign, I believed everything he said. I was young and dumb and blinded by my anger at the world and he was going to fix it. So I went with my dad and voted for my first time with no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice, I got my sticker, I took my selfie, and I was proud.
Then he won! I was so excited, something was finally going to change! So I waited, and I watched, and had things started to happen, and like everyone around me I made excuses, "we can't expect him to fix everything in one day" and "that stuff is all fake, someone made it up to make him look bad." Then bad things kept happening, and more information came to light, and they kept making excuses for all of it.
Then I got busy, I had a kid, I started my career, I was busy, and I didn't have time to pay attention to the news or politics, I have a baby for godsakes that's enough to worry about!
Then life calmed down and I started having time to pay attention to the world around me and suddenly we were years into his presidency and nothing had changed. The world was not a better place, the things everyone was afraid of that I laughed off as garbage or impossible had happened. The things I made excuses for never stopped. Then I kept paying attention, and things kept getting worse and I had to accept the fact that I was wrong, I made a horrible horrible mistake, and it had hurt a lot of people, but those people were still abstract in my mind, no one I knew had been directly affected by these things he had done yet, not in a major way.
Then things kept getting worse, and the pandemic started, and the choices he made started putting millions of people in danger, and a lot of those people were people in my life every day, my mom is extremely high risk, my boyfriend had to get tested, my kids are at risk, and the feeling got worse. I was put in the position to understand just how bad things he's done have hurt people.
I regret voting for him, I regret that it took me having to experience the negative effects first hand to fully understand how badly I messed up. I wish I could take it back every time I am reminded Trump was elected in part because of me. I will not vote for him in 2020, I don't know who I will vote for yet, but I'm going to make sure I'm absolutely as educated on all the candidates as I can be, and I'm going to try again, I'm going to make a choice I am proud of and hope like hell I'm right this time. In the meantime I have spent as much time as I can learning about all the things I thought were garbage in the past, and doing my very best to tell everyone I possibly can that they need to listen.
"I am not proud to live in this country..."
I'll be voting for Biden after voting for Trump in 2016.
His politicalization of a pandemic and poor response to it are the main reason for the change. I also strongly dislike the way he deals with Russia and the cronyism amongst his cabinet.
I didn't agree with everything George Bush or Obama did it stood for, but I believed they were trying to improve the country in the best way they saw how. Trump seems to be only selfishly motivated and has made a mockery of our nations highest elected office.
I am not proud to live in this country as long as he is at its helm. I look forward to November 3rd.
It took me a while to figure it out, but that's not the swamp he was talking about. When he talks about the swamp he isn't talking about the various government-industrial complexes. The times when you have companies writing the regulations that govern them, or they hire executives from said companies to govern them, that's A-OK with Trump.
What Trump cannot stand is the civil service. The unelected bureaucrat who spends fifty years mastering one tiny arcane element of government regulation and shapes how that regulation is applied is the thing that gets Trump frothing at the mouth. It's a power thing. The folks that enforce building codes and labor regulations have always compelled him to do stuff even when he doesn't want to, and he hates that.
So, the gutting of our diplomatic corps, the systemic attack on the Department of Justice, the systemic defunding of the post office and veterans and affairs are Trump draining the swamp. The "deep state" that frustrates the initiatives of a new government are professional government employees who have far more control over how things go down than the man in charge because they're the ones actually doing the work. A lot of people looked at that and said "yeah, f*** the military-industrial complex" but Trump doesn't care about that. He cares that the EPA and FBI were mean to him by not doing impossible or utterly nonsensical things because he wants that.
The swamp, the deep state, and all that "cleaning up" never had anything to do with bankers of prisons or arms manufacturers. He has always been contemptuous of formal power structures. Trump is the center of his own universe, anything that doesn't immediately bend to his arbitrary whims is something to be destroyed.
"I moved out of my parents' house..."
I moved out of my parents' house, experienced college, people from many backgrounds, and am in a career where I know what a good leader looks like, and he is most certainly not that.
"I dropped out of that school..."
My story is a lot like other people's here. I grew up in a small "Christian" town where everyone was conservative or quiet and climate change was a hoax the climate scientists told us so there would be an economic need for them. I was taught basically that the government is out to get you and so we must have as small a government as possible. Had I done any research on Trump I might have known that wasn't even his goal. But anyways, I was 18 and had gone to the big city for school where there were maybe 5 conservatives. I felt like the world was going crazy and for some arrogant reason, I thought I was seeing what no one else was. I voted for Trump without a second thought.
Fast forward a year. I dropped out of that school and moved back to my hometown because I felt like I couldn't handle being around "liberals" for three more years. I started going to community college where I took a macroeconomics class and learned about economic policies from something other than a YouTube video. Once it became clear that trickle down economics doesn't work, I started to wonder what else Democrats could be right about. That ultimately led me to becoming the BLM marching, Bernie Sanders campaign donating, climate change believing progressive outlier that I am.
"I was 21..."
I was 21 and was tired of nothing but career politician after career politician becoming President. I truly believed that if Trump, someone without political experience, could become President, it would open the door for us to be more accepting of non-career politicians becoming President.
I always believed that anyone could be President, and I always felt that someone further from the time-wasting BS that normally clogs politics would be more representative of the common American citizen.
How tf I thought CHEETO CHEETO BUNKER BOY was representative of the American people, idk. But now I realize that it's people like AOC who can truly understand what it's like to be a normal person and can still exist in the political landscape. She's my new hero.
"I'm trying my best..."
Ignorance and religious pressure were the reasons I voted for him. The only news outlet I really paid attention to was Fox, and my church made it about heaven and hell basically. Voting for Hillary was tantamount to killing a baby with your bare hands. I didnt like him, but I didnt know it was THAT bad. A few months post election I caught wind of a rumor that he had an assault allegation. I wasnt aware of this, and I did some digging. Also, within a year and a half most of my ideological views changed drastically as I deconverted, and I started looking at more sources for news and information. Suddenly I realized that I had been the product of very concerted propaganda efforts by right wing cable news, and those who take it as gospel.
I educated myself, and ever since I have been deeply involved with keeping up on what goes on in our politics. I watch hearings, read source documents, follow Trump on Twitter, and I vet my information as much as possible. I actively speak out against Trump and similar politicians, and I am active in my community fighting against what they stand for.
I'm trying my best to pay penance for my choice made in ignorance because when it comes to these decisions, one cannot afford to be ignorant.
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